Friday, October 17, 2008

Over 500 Gallons per Acre of Oil from Rutabagas?

Rutabagas yield approximately 20 tons per acre, 80 percent of which is water weight. On a dry-matter basis, an acre yields approximately four tons, half being starch. So, if two tons of starch per acre are converted to oils, this equates to roughly 525 gallons of oil per acre compared with 160 gallons of oil yield per acre from canola. “If this thing works, it could be the end of canola because everything we could do with canola, we could do better with rutabagas,” he said.
Rutabagas produce a huge root ball of starch. Michigan State University researcher Christoph Benning thinks he can alter the metabolism of rutabagas to produce oil instead of starch.
Unmodified rutabagas produce oil in seeds during a short period of the plants’ life cycles. “If you look at a root crop - sugar beets or rutabagas - they photosynthate into biomass during the entire growing season,” Benning said, so the idea is to genetically modify rutabagas to produce oil instead of starch in green and root tissues. This would produce more oil throughout the whole life cycle of the plant instead of just during seed development. “I was looking for a plant that was a close relative of the arabidopsis - one that had a big, starchy storage organ,” he said. The arabidopsis plant was the first flowering plant to have its entire genetic code sequenced. This led him to the rutabaga, which is the same species as canola and rapeseed. _Bioenergy
Biodiesel Magazine presents a fascinating look at the fat rendering business, which every year renders 60 billion pounds of perishable fats into useful and valuable commercial product--including biodiesel fuel. Less than 10% of this rendering is done by slaughterhouses and meat packers themselves, so more than 90% of this useful activity is done by independents.

Under a free market economy, such "niche-finding" activity is common, and waste is often transformed into useful product. Unfortunately, with the growth of government interference in the economic system, the costs of doing business are growing exponentially. Should Obama be elected, skyrocketing tax rates on businesses will drive many independents out of the market, with the loss of millions of jobs.



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